“First time in a bar?” the woman asked. She smiled at Connor in a way that made him feel like prey. A meal waiting to be devoured. He almost sighed.
Ten years on the job and his first thought was she must be a prostitute. Except she wasn’t dressed like one. She wore a simple cotton V-neck shirt that was just small enough to show the pertness of her breasts without being tight. Straight-legged blue jeans and plain black shoes. Her face was fresh and unlined, but when Connor looked into her blue eyes, he saw something worn down and leathery from use. Her long, untamed brown curls tumbled over her shoulders and down her back.
She almost looked like somebody’s wife. Almost.
There was something undone about her though. She couldn’t be somebody’s wife, he decided. And thank God, because if she was trying to pick him up, he wasn’t so sure he’d refuse.
“Connor,” he said, releasing his scotch long enough to extend a hand.
She arched an eyebrow but accepted it, her grip firm and dry.
“Claire,” she responded.
He downed the rest of his drink and motioned to the bartender for another.
“Scotch?” she asked.
He smiled. “Perceptive.”
She caught the bartender’s eye and signaled for two. Connor stared straight ahead. When the scotch arrived he swiveled to face her.
“Claire,” he said, holding his glass aloft. “What should we toast to?”
She half smiled, and he noticed just how wide and full her lips were. “Let’s toast to being found,” she said.
She leaned into him, and he caught a whiff of lavender. Her blue eyes were flecked with green, and they looked even older than he’d first thought.
“Yes,” she said. “To being found.”
He clinked his glass against hers. “Interesting,” he said.
“Indeed.” She sipped her scotch without taking her eyes from his.
“Which of us has been found?” Connor asked.
She set her glass down and put her hands in her lap, studying them. “That remains to be seen.”
“So, are you picking me up, Claire?”
She looked at him again, unruffled. “Why do you ask?”
“Because I’m already having a pretty rough day, and if you are picking me up, I’d just as soon dispense with the formalities and go to my place.”
She smiled wryly. “Charming.”
He pursed his lips and nodded. “Honest,” he replied.
She gazed at him thoughtfully. “Connor, what do you do?”
“I’m a detective,” he said.
“Are you any good?”
He laughed. “I was.”
He bit his lip and tightened his fingers around his glass.
“Oh,” she said. “The bad day.”
“Some of it.”
“Want to talk about it?”
Genre – Psychological Thriller / Crime Fiction
Rating – R